The following letter was sent by Marilyn Nielsen, executive officer of the California Acupuncture Board (CAB) to Acupuncture Today on March 25, 2004, and addressed to Matthew Bauer, LAc, in response to his article, "Will California LAcs Be Required to Undergo Additional Training and Testing?" which appeared in the April 2004 issue.
March 22, 2004
Matthew Bauer, LAc
2186 Third Street
La Verne, CA 91750
I write in response to erroneous public testimony you made at the February 28, 2004 CSOMA Conference in Los Angeles, California, and in the April 2004 Acupuncture Today article.
The issue in question is continuing education for acupuncture licensees and your wholly incorrect assumptions and representations as to the California Acupuncture Board's (CAB) position. Both your public testimony and article misrepresented the position the CAB has taken regarding the increase in curriculum requirements and the appropriate continuing education requirements for currently licensed practitioners.
You were accurate in quoting the question poised to the Board by the Little Hoover Commission (LHC) and quoting the CAB's response, however your interpretation of the CAB's response is inaccurate.
The CAB was asked the following question by the LHC and our response was as follows:
LHC's question: "What changes in continuing education requirements does the Board recommend for currently licensed practitioners who have completed less than 3,000 hours of education? Does the Board recommend different levels of continuing education requirements, or retesting of competency for practitioners licensed with differential education levels?"
CAB's response: "In recent years most California-approved acupuncture schools have added classes well beyond the 2,348 hours required by law. In 2000, the average number of hours offered by the 22 approved schools was 2,928. Depending on where they obtained their schooling, recent graduates have completed anywhere from 2,623 to 3,350 hours. The Board also recognizes the significant educational value for years of practice after an acupuncture license is obtained. Therefore, the Board does not recommend changes to CE requirements for currently licensed practitioners or re-testing practitioners licensed with different education levels."
The Board singularly addressed the 3,000 hour level and unequivocally did not make any representations about levels higher than 3,000. Your interpretation was: "In essence, the CAB is stating they believe all current licensed acupuncturists should be grandfathered into 'any' new standard that is passed."
This statement is an assumption and is totally inaccurate. In fact, the CAB at its May 13, 2002, Board meeting voted to support AB 1943, which at that time had a 2-tier level of education (i.e., a 3,000 hour program effective January 1, 2005 and a 4,000-hour program by 2010), in addition to a 450 hour requirement of continuing education over a 10 year period for all current licensed acupuncturists (AB 1943 - April 15 and April 29, 2002 amended versions). The language referring to designated hours for continuing education for current licensees was amended out of AB1 943 with the June 17, 2002 amendments.
When the entry-level requirements for licensure exceed 3,000 hours, the CAB will continue to maintain a position that an increased level of CE should be required of all current licensees. A special task force will be convened by the CAB to determine the details of requirements, such as specific hours, coursework, and competency exams.
We would have preferred you contacted the Board to clarify your interpretation prior to drawing conclusions and expressing yourself publicly, however since that did not occur, the CAB is requesting you rectify this error. The Board's executive officer was able to correct your verbal testimony on site at the CSOMA Conference, but in addition the CAB is requesting you write and submit a retraction to Acupuncture Today, to be printed in their next publication, with a copy submitted to the Board and the LHC.
I trust that in the future the data to which you're about to testify or put in writing will be validated and verified to be accurate prior to doing so.
Click here for previous articles by Matthew Bauer, LAc.